Diagnosis of lameness in dogs by use of artificial neural networks and ground reaction forces obtained during gait analysis.

Kaijima M, Foutz TL, McClendon RW, Budsberg SC.
2012 Jul

Objective-To evaluate the accuracy of artificial neural networks (ANNs) for use in predicting subjective diagnostic scores of lameness with variables determined from ground reaction force (GRF) data. Animals-21 adult mixed-breed dogs. Procedures-The left cranial cruciate ligament of each dog was transected to induce osteoarthritis of the stifle joint as part of another study. Lameness scores were assigned and GRF data were collected 2 times before and 5 times after ligament transection. Inputs and the output for each ANN were GRF variables and a lameness score, respectively. The ANNs were developed by use of data from 14 dogs and evaluated by use of data for the remaining 7 dogs (ie, dogs not used in model development). Results-ANN models developed with 2 preferred input variables had an overall accuracy ranging from 96% to 99% for 2 data configurations (data configuration 1 contained patterns or observations for 7 dogs, whereas data configuration 2 contained patterns or observations for 7 other dogs). When additional variables were added to the models, the highest overall accuracy ranged from 97% to 100%. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance-ANNs provided a method for processing GRF data of dogs to accurately predict subjective diagnostic scores of lameness. Processing of GRF data via ANNs could result in a more precise evaluation of surgical and pharmacological intervention by detecting subtle lameness that could have been missed by visual analysis of GRF curves.